Each year, the Planning and Visual Education Partnership (PAVE) hosts a competition to foster design education among the next generation of retail designers. This year, the organization awarded $21,000 in grants and $6,000 in school awards during its 2010 Student Design Competition, sponsored by Godiva Chocolatier, Inc., which challenged college-level students involved in retail planning, visual merchandising, interior design, and branding programs to design concepts for Godiva, in both overall store design and visual merchandising categories. Pochu Hu, an interior design student at FIT, won first prize for her overall store concept, taking home $5,000. Here she shares her inspirations and career goals.
1. Why did you decide to pursue this specific field of expertise over others?
I have always been interested in art and architecture. For me, interior design allows me to explore my interests in these two fields.
2. What do you think young designers can bring to the field of retail design?
Young designers can bring a fresh eye and unexpected ideas to the field of retail design. I think young designers also can bring technology and the new social media paradigm to their designs.
3. Can you describe your winning concept in the competition?
My concept for the Godiva competition was to bring artists from around the world to design packaging and stores for Godiva. I wanted customers to view Godiva as a dynamic and engaging place to shop.
4. What was your inspiration for the concept?
I was inspired by other luxury brands, such as Louis Vuitton, that have engaged artists to help rebrand and bring their products to a younger, more hip customer base.
5. What would be your ideal retail design job?
My ideal design job would allow me to be involved in all aspects of a project—from design inception to actual store installation.
6. What do you think is most exciting about retail design?
I think retail design really allows a young designer like me to create not only a store, but also an experience. Also, it is thrilling to design for places that many people will actually be able to enjoy.
7. What is the most challenging aspect of retail design?
As a young designer who is new to retail design, the most challenging aspect is to strike the balance between creativity and the financial bottom-line.
--DDI, sister publication of Contract, with Stacy Straczynski